Sunday marked 11 years since the day John and I each left Sufficient Grounds coffee shop in Hillcrest thinking “I’ve just seen a face” that could very well change my life forever.
We didn’t talk about it at the time – and neither of us really believed in love at first sight – not with our life experiences. But we later talked about how we knew, barring some scariness or insanity that might crop up later, that we’d just met the person we might spend the rest of our lives with.
We met on my daddy’s birthday, so I can always remember the day.
Daddy would’ve been 80 this year, a fact that made me wistful and made me wonder about what he would’ve been like as an old man. It also made me miss Aunt Barbara, his older sister, who’s been gone for about 2 1/2 years now, I think.
It made Mother a little tearful – she’s grieving Daddy again, as well as Bill, these days (though she’s really doing amazingly well).
I thought about being nine years older than he was when he died. I felt calm and accepting.
So it surprised me Tuesday night when I was babysitting at Liz’s and thinking how Silas is looking a little like Daddy (though he’s unquestionably the image of my sister, Cathy) and suddenly I felt I’d been punched in the stomach. No tears, just pain. Take your breath away physical gut punch, nauseating.
If someone tells you it goes away, she lies. Time passes and loss gets more manageable, but that feeling can hit at any time.
But life goes on. I’ve just put the finishing touches on a trip Mother and I are taking in little over a month, one she and Bill had wanted to take. We’ll go to Seattle, Victoria (yes, Canada) by boat and to the Yakima Valley, where John grew up – and my mother will finally meet his mother in person.
I’m finished with the zombies and Calvin Trillin’s Dogfight and am halfway through Bruce, the hard to put down biography of The Boss, which creates it’s own nostalgia for me. His Born to Run album, which shook up my life, came out about this time 38 years ago, just before I turned 20. “Thunder Road,” “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out” and “Born to Run” still give me goosebumps on this softer, saggier flesh.
Sigh. But I’m happy about being old and a grandmother several times over. I couldn’t be surrounded by any better faces, all five of them.